China has overseen world-historic economic growth through a government-led development model, in which state-owned enterprises control the natural monopolies and “commanding heights” of the economy, state-owned banks give favorable loans to strategic industries, and the state’s robust industrial policy helps the country move up the value chain toward higher value-added forms of production. This model, which Beijing officially refers to as a socialist market economy, has been so successful that a prominent European think tank has acknowledged that “China is now the world’s sole manufacturing superpower”. In 2020, China made up a staggering 35% of global gross manufacturing production.
When the countries of the Global North, led by the United States, demanded that the countries of the Global South adopt the North Atlantic Treaty Organization position on the war in Ukraine (namely to isolate Russia), they refused, accusing the West of double standards. Numerous leaders have since pointed to the Global North’s weakening credibility, signaling a new mood in the Global South. These changes are shaped, on the one hand, by the Global North’s loss of economic power alongside its increasing militarization and, on the other, by the Global South’s growing political demand for sovereignty and economic development.
At the close of our People’s Counter Summit Against APEC, we issued a unity statement to summarize the positions of the No To APEC Coalition during our 2023 campaign culminating in the 800+ person Counter Summit. The statement is titled “People and Planet against Profit and Plunder: Towards a World Beyond Profit-Oriented Systems!” We publish this statement as the APEC Heads of State concluded their own Summit with the so-called “Golden Gate Declaration” to lay out the rosey-sounding false solutions they spent an entire year writing while desperately-needed practical policies for reversing the global economic, political and climate crises eluded them.
Two interesting things happened at the BRICS summit in South Africa in August. Several new members were invited to join BRICS in 2024: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. And, at Brazil’s urging, a commission was established to study the possibility of a new currency to replace the dollar in international trade. Currency swap agreements will continue to be the way the process moves forward in the short term, though, because the dollar cannot be replaced in a rush. To escape the shackles of dollarization, Global South countries have a perilous path to walk. The major problems, as described by political economists Michael Hudson and Radhika Desai, are as follows...
The derivatives bubble has been estimated to exceed one quadrillion dollars (a quadrillion is 1,000 trillion). The entire GDP of the world is estimated at $105 trillion, or 10% of one quadrillion; and the collective wealth of the world is an estimated $360 trillion. Clearly, there is not enough collateral anywhere to satisfy all the derivative claims. The majority of derivatives now involve interest rate swaps, and interest rates have shot up. The bubble looks ready to pop. Who were the intrepid counterparties signing up to take the other side of these risky derivative bets? Initially, it seems, they were banks –led by four mega-banks, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.
In the United Kingdom, the BBC prepared and published data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in January about different nations’ growth forecasts for 2023 and 2024. The BBC foregrounded some really bad news for the UK. Of nine major industrial economies—the G7 (the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, and Canada), plus Russia, and China—the UK would be the only one to suffer real economic decline: a contraction in its 2023 GDP (its total annual, national output of goods and services). So dubious a distinction for the UK followed the long political night of rule by the Conservative Party. That night’s darker moments included austerity after the severe 2008-2009 global capitalist crash, scapegoating Europe for the UK’s economic troubles, Brexit taking place during the peak of that scapegoating, enjoyment of COVID cocktail parties by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government that it prohibited for the British public, and endless, transparent, and cringeworthy lying to the public when caught and exposed.
At the zenith of the mass protests in Egypt on January 25, 2011, Twitter, Facebook and other Western-based social media platforms appeared to be the most essential tools for the Egyptian Revolution. Though some observers later contested the use of the terms ‘Twitter Revolution’ or ‘Social Media Revolution,’ one cannot deny the centrality of these platforms in the discussion around the events that attempted to redefine the power structures of Egypt. It was hardly a surprise that, on January 26, the Egyptian regime decided to block access to social media in a desperate attempt to prevent the spread of the protests.
On the last day of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, the five founding states (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) welcomed six new members: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The BRICS partnership now encompasses 47.3 percent of the world’s population, with a combined global Gross Domestic Product (by purchasing power parity, or PPP,) of 36.4 percent. In comparison, though the G7 states (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) account for merely 10 percent of the world’s population, their share of the global GDP (by PPP) is 30.4 percent.
In its summit in Johannesburg, South Africa this August, BRICS invited six new members: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The bloc now represents 37% of global GDP (measured at purchasing power parity, or PPP), as well as 40% of global oil production and roughly 1/3rd of global gas production. The inclusion of top oil producers like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have long priced their crude in dollars, is a direct challenge to the US petrodollar system. All of the invited nations have indicated that they will officially join the extended BRICS+ bloc on 1 January 2024.
In 2003, high officials from Brazil, India, and South Africa met in Mexico to discuss their mutual interests in the trade of pharmaceutical drugs. India was and is one of the world’s largest producers of various drugs, including those used to treat HIV-AIDS; Brazil and South Africa were both in need of affordable drugs for patients infected with HIV as well as a host of other treatable ailments. But these three countries were barred from easily trading with each other because of strict intellectual property laws established by the World Trade Organisation. Just a few months prior to their meeting, the three countries formed a grouping, known as IBSA.
Early U.S. capitalism was centered in New England. After some time, the pursuit of profit led many capitalists to leave that area and move production to New York and the mid-Atlantic states. Much of New England was left with abandoned factory buildings and depressed towns evident to this day. Eventually employers moved again, abandoning New York and the mid-Atlantic for the Midwest. The same story kept repeating as capitalism’s center relocated to the Far West, the South, and the Southwest. Descriptive terms like “Rust Belt,” “deindustrialization,” and “manufacturing desert” increasingly applied to ever more portions of U.S. capitalism.
So what we were going to talk about is really the Third World debt crisis, the new Third World debt crisis. How similar and how different is it from the one that hit the Third World back in the 1980s? What has been the specific contribution, if any, of the pandemic and the war? And what is the future of the Third World, given that in addition to all the other calamities, it is now hit with this debt crisis? Now, last time we started with a list of seven questions and we only got through the first two. So let me just go through the seven questions and then we will begin with the third question. So the first question was, what was the genesis of the 1980s debt crisis?
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen visited China. There she tried to press the worlds biggest economy on several issues. Yellen's visit failed to achieve anything. She had some talks with Chinese officials but achieved nothing. She lectured and made demands that no one in China will be willing to fulfill. The Chinese side for one seems unimpressed by her performance: Yellen mentioned multiple times the US is seeking a healthy competition with China rather than a "winner-take-all" approach. While this may sound good, the key lies in how we define "healthy competition." Is it a US-style one in which the geopolitical appetite of the US is satisfied while China unconditionally cooperates? Or is it based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation? The root cause of the challenges in the China-US relationship lies in Washington's flawed perception of China.
The contradictions of China-bashing in the United States begin with how often it is flat-out untrue. The Wall Street Journal reports that the “Chinese spy” balloon that President Joe Biden shot down with immense patriotic fanfare in February 2023 did not in fact transmit pictures or anything else to China. White House economists have been trying to excuse persistent U.S. inflation saying it is a global problem and inflation is worse elsewhere in the world. China’s inflation rate is 0.7 percent year-on-year. Financial media outlets stress how China’s GDP growth rate is lower than it used to be. China now estimates that its 2023 GDP growth will be 5 to 5.5 percent.